Thursday, December 29, 2011

Private University Act ready soon



by Dasun Edirisinghe

The Ministry of Higher Education plans to present a new bill titled ‘Quality Assurance Accreditation and Qualification Framework Bill’ which is popularly known as ‘Private University Act’ in parliament as soon as possible.

Minister S. B. Dissanayake told a media conference on Tuesday that the Cabinet of ministers had already approved the draft bill and it would be tabled in the House after it received clearance from the Legal Draftsman’s Department.

He said that a section of politically motivated undergraduates had misled the public claiming that the ministry was going to establish private universities once the new bill became legal, but it was not the truth.

"There are 29 private universities already functioning in the country as Board of Investment projects for the last nine years," he said.

Some of those institutions provide substandard education for very high fees, he claimed.

Some institutions offered three-month diplomas, six-month higher diplomas, one-year degrees and three-year post graduate degrees, but those institutions were not functioning under the University Grants Commission (UGC).

"We will regularize those institutions under the new Act," he said.

Dissanayake said that under the new act, the ministry would introduce new rules and regulation for those institutions to enhance the quality of education.

He said BoI had issued licenses to 51 institutions, but currently only 29 were functioning and most of the institutions had to close down due to their poor quality.

They would also enforce a rule that scholarships must be given to 20% of the students who did not get selected to the government universities, the Minister said.

Higher Education Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne said that the new Act would not be a threat to the free education system, but it would increase the annual intake of students to universities.

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